Letter to the editor of The Times, published 11 January 2018. © Richard Kemp

The British Army’s new recruitment campaign is about meeting quotas for minorities, as an MoD source quoted in your report (Jan 10) admits, rather than dealing with its manning crisis (“It’s fine to cry, Army tells new recruits”, Jan 10).

The army should reflect the composition of society, but that is secondary to the need to have a fully manned, battle-ready force. These adverts may have a marginal effect on recruiting minorities but will not appeal to the majority of potential recruits, who are willing to fight, seek adventure and are attracted by images of a combat force in action. There is no shortage of such young people out there, including among minorities. What prevents them from joining up is not concern about whether they can pray or will be listened to but the army’s overly bureaucratic, “civilianised” recruiting organisation that places undue focus on political correctness and too often acts as a barrier to enlistment.

Colonel Richard Kemp
Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, London SW1